The Weekly Watch

Growth

The world around me is greening. Trees are budding, blooming, and leafing. Last year's sugars stored in the roots return to the growing tips and are converted into green leaves - solar powered carbon fixers. Creating sugar from air and water is the nature of plant growth. The sugars are used to build more plant tissue as they reach for the sun. I guess we have to strive toward a goal ourselves to experience growth - the human equivalent of reaching for the sun. We could use more of the sensibility and sustainability of cyclic plant growth, relying on the sun and water for our power and energy. Perhaps we could grow to be a sane and functional society focused on the needs of people and the natural system rather than the cancerous growth of profit hungry war mongers in the US and around the world.

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The business of growing food is political. Most food production is by corporate agribusiness focused on maximizing profit not promoting healthy food, the environment, nor happy animals. This week Chris Hedges interviews environmental activist and author, Vandana Shiva. They talk about Monsanto/Bayer AG and other big AG players interests in India and her fight to protect life forms, seed varieties and farmers. (27 min)

Growth and agriculture also provide a metaphor for a broader discussion of our times...

It isn't just the greening of the forests, but also the news of the week which made me think about growth. With the release of the Barr memo describing the Mueller report's conclusion of no collusion, it seems that the russiagaters can't/won't let go of their narrative. The senate voted on the GND this week and no one voted for it. Chelsea Manning is being tortured again this week because she won't testify against Julian (who remains in his own prison as fellow journalists remain silent). Israel continues to bomb Gaza, and Trump recognizes their illegal annexation of the Golan Heights. The starvation, disease, bombing, and death in Yemen continues in a media void. The US continues it's illegal coup in Venezuela. Brexit comes to a head in the near term as a million people marched in London last week. Yellow vests are still protesting in France. These are a few of the many items which made me ask if we as a species are capable of growth or have we reached our evolutionary dead end?

So as I thought about these stories I began think of how we might grow from crisis to stability. All the politics, wars, economic and environmental issues compound the existential threat of climate disaster. As Greta has been saying...it must be our focus...it is the emergency we continue to ignore and deny. Progress seems glacial to nonexistent. In fact the US is getting worse...polluting and releasing more not less. The politicians of both parties are owned by the global fossil fuel conglomerates. There is not time to change our political system to address this impending ecosystem collapse. Empires have come and gone. Species also come and go. We know the path to survival, but the quest for dollars creates the barrier.

We need to reduce global energy consumption, that is, reduce productive and/or transport activities. This means challenging the capitalist growth imperative.

Does this mean de-growth? Some production or services should not degrow but be suppressed, ASAP: coal facilities and mines, oil extraction, weapons production, the advertising industry, glyphosate, pesticides, etc. But others should grow – such as renewable energies, organic agriculture, and essential services (education, health and culture).

Obvious measures: Here are just a few of the options (you can add many more):

  • Rapidly phase out oil, gas, and coal extraction and stop subsidizing fossil fuels
  • Develop a massive program of public investment in solar, wind, thermal energy
  • Initiate a massive green housing program focused on energy-efficient social housing for low-income residents, and retrofit existing buildings with electric heat pumps, efficient appliances, and added insulation
  • Fund public transportation, including urban, rural, and intercity options; construct a pan-Canadian network of electrified passenger and freight trains
  • Employ people to clean up abandoned wells, tailings lakes, and mining waste to prepare land for return to Indigenous peoples
  • Break with agribusiness, promote ecological agriculture and work with farmers to reduce agricultural emissions
  • End production of useless and dangerous things (start with weapons!)
  • Localize production to the maximum, fight planned obsolescence
  • Redistribute wealth, refinance the public education and care sectors
  • Develop new ecologically sound industries to employ workers displaced by suppression of non-renewable resource exploitation – while maintaining incomes and social benefits.

https://socialistproject.ca/2019/03/rethinking-approaches-to-climate-cha...

A new report out Tuesday reveals that investing $500 billion in making U.S. residential and commercial buildings more energy efficient would benefit the planet, save money, and create millions of jobs.
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/03/26/real-win-win-win-new-report...

A United States federal judge ruled on Tuesday that hundreds of drilling projects across 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming have to be halted until the government performs a comprehensive review of how the fracking sites will impact climate change.
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/first-ever-ruling-public-lands-...

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Fundamental change is a hard sell till the water is rising, and now the water is rising as polar and glacial ice melts, as floods rage planet wide. It is a snowball gaining speed, and even if we throw in 100% behind a green transition it may be too late. Our extinction may be baked into the system
Will we even try?

They didn't this week when the Senate voted on the GND. I'm no political scientist, but not one person was willing to support the generalized proposal?
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-26/not-single-senate-democrat-vot...
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/03/26/0-57-republican-fossil-fuel...

The reality is that as long as powerful people control the dominant public narratives, no ground will be gained in steering our species away from the status quo trajectory that’s killing us, because you won’t be able to awaken mainstream consciousness to what’s going on. The only thing that has any hope of prying the oligarchic hands off the steering wheel is the mainstream public seeing what they’re doing and using the power of their numbers to force drastic change in a wildly different direction. If we can’t make that happen, we’re all just banging on locked doors while the curtain closes on humanity.
...What we’ve tried up until now hasn’t worked, so if there’s anything that might work it’s going to come from a wildly unanticipated direction, from way outside the failed mental processes which have accompanied us to this point. We need to open ourselves to that kind of idea.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/28/your-plans-for-revolution-dont-w...

Here's an idea...let's get rid of (or at least limit) cars (15 min).

The car fundamentally changed society. The internet and AI are fundamentally changing it today.

But currently our global growth is twisted and unhealthy....In need of pruning.

... the oil executives were almost giddy at the prospect of high-level executive branch access of the sort they hadn’t enjoyed since Dick Cheney, a fellow oilman, was vice president.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/recording-reveals-oil-industry-execs-l...

Pushing petroleum in Puerto Rico...
...behind the scenes, some policymakers and fossil fuel industry leaders are using the crisis to transform Puerto Rico into a hub for liquefied natural gas–gas obtained from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the mainland United States. (video or text)
https://therealnews.com/stories/puerto-rico-faces-a-flood-of-fracked-gas...
https://therealnews.com/columns/push-to-reverse-obscure-shipping-law-cou...

Wars and coups for oil or How to Grow an Empire

It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.

https://www.rt.com/usa/449982-john-bolton-oil-venezuela/

What a tangled web. Like the complexity and connectivity of a forest system, the global cabal vies for more oil and gas to hasten our demise. Consider the global issues surrounding the Venezuelan coup.

VIJAY PRASHAD: The most important thing is the investments. I mean, Russian oil company not only has surpluses in hand, but it’s also got experience. And Venezuela’s oil industry has suffered from a lack of investment for quite some time. And I think this is where the Russian money is going to be very important. They are investing in fields, particularly fields that are around the major Western fields in Venezuela, around the Lake Maracaibo. There was a lot of money put into the Orinoco fields development along the Orinoco River. That’s not exactly where the Russians are investing. They’re investing in the older fields. But they’re also investing in the Venezuelan oil company, which has required I adding funds to maintain maintain its ability to import naphtha.

I mean, Venezuela is in a curious position. It has largely got heavy oil, heavy oil whose price, you know, heavy oil which is actually what the Chinese are buying from it. But to get the heavy oil out of the ground, the Venezuelans require naphtha or naphthalene to pump into the wells to bring the oil up. And so the Russian investment is helping with all this. It’s helping, in a sense, maintain, if not revive, the Venezuelan oil industry. And then that oil is going to be sold increasingly into the Chinese market

https://therealnews.com/stories/russia-defies-us-threats-over-venezuela

...the E.U. Is basically set up to deprive all of these states of their independence and make them vassals of the United States. And what they did was they were coerced into a scenario, or allowed themselves to be brought into a scenario where Venezuela was not only facing the threat of a war that all of these E.U. states say they oppose, they oppose a Libya-style intervention, but also faces now a deepening economic war, which as even Michelle Bachelet, who is the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said in very weak language, is deepening the crisis that all Venezuelans face on a socioeconomic level. And so, really, this is just a colossal failure of the E.U., and it really reveals what the E.U. is and what kind of a mechanism it was set up to be, and it’s to help recolonize the Middle East and Latin America on behalf of the U.S.

https://therealnews.com/stories/venezuela-is-in-economic-crisis-not-huma...

Despite committed work by relatively isolated intellectuals and activists, there was/is no similar US left with respect to Venezuela, which helps explain why social democrats, who are willing to attack Trump on almost anything, have either remained relatively quiet or (worse) largely accepted the premises of his imperialist foreign policy.  Without a left, they are rudderless, clueless, or simply complicit with Trump’s foreign policy agenda.
https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/03/26/venezuela-us-solidarity-an...

Is extinction our only option to get out of this mess? Not necessarily.

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The path to healthy growth would be good schools and a quality education for every child.

...research shows that as of the 2015–2016 school year, one in eleven (8.8 percent) of K–12 teachers in the country are not fully certified, over one-fifth (22.4 percent) of teachers are inexperienced (with five or fewer years of experience (22.4 percent), 17.1 percent followed an alternative route into teaching, and about one in three (31.5 percent) of teachers do not have an educational background in their subject of main assignment.

https://www.epi.org/blog/looking-for-the-missing-highly-qualified-teache...

School districts around the country, faced with a historic shortage of teachers, should be scrambling to offer those educators higher pay and better working conditions. That’s what the economics of supply and demand would dictate. Instead, we are seeing a spread of teachers’ strikes and protests, with Denver and Oakland among the latest in a series of protest waves spreading from West Virginia to Los Angeles. The spate of recent strikes suggests conditions have reached a breaking point as teachers are forced to take on second and third jobs to make ends meet, and to spend money out of their own pockets to supply classrooms.

https://www.epi.org/blog/teacher-strikes-blanket-the-nation-as-a-labor-o...

New report reveals how charter schools have scammed the US government for up to a billion dollars. There is only one way to deal with this blatant grift program for the charter school industry – shut it down. The billionaire-led large-scale privatization of America’s public schools has become central to the education landscape in many cities across the nation. The charter industry, dominated by chains and franchises with national ambitions, but also filled with players whose income and careers benefit as charters grow, shows few signs of slowing down. This fall, Georgia and Massachusetts voters will consider ballot measures to accelerate the takeover of traditional public schools.
https://www.nationofchange.org/2019/03/27/new-report-reveals-how-charter...

Teacher strikes are providing some push back, and are evolving into a broader and hopefully more effective protest.
https://www.salon.com/2019/03/17/teachers-stage-a-bold-protest-that-scor...

People around the globe face significant challenges. The UK has painted itself in a box

Brexit humor

Here's a more serious and thorough description of the weeks Brexit antics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD8EVcWAaLo (11 min)

Nothing illustrates our ability to be manipulated more than the Russiagate saga. Even now I wonder if the stake has been driven through the heart of this never dying vampire ...
still sucking the reasoning ability of average Americans.

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The Mueller report’s categorical statement that Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia ends one of the most shameful periods in modern American journalism, one that rivals the mindless cheerleading for the Iraq War by most of the press. It further erodes and may prove fatal to the credibility of a press that has steadfastly rendered most of the country invisible and functions as little more than an array of gossiping courtiers to the elites

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/mueller-report-ends-a-shameful-period-...

Glenn Greenwald recommends Matt Taibbi's piece It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD, and says,

I will instead post the video debate I had with Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and Trump/Russia believer David Cay Johnston on Democracy Now this morning. Though this debate was often contentious, I think it was quite substantive and illuminates all of the points I believe need to be made right now about the implications of this utter political and media failure of historic proportions:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/25/watch-a-contentious-constructive-deb...

How about Russiagate in 3 minutes?

Clips from over the last few years prove Jimmy was right...
Jimmy Dore Wins Russiagate – Compilation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpssL-_e0gw (15 min)

How Russiagate hacked the brains of America's elite w/ Aaron Maté, Ben Noton, and Max Blumenthal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLPFycyPnyQ (1.3 hours)
Interesting conversation among three russiagate reporters and skeptics

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Growth is relative. You might see a fallen and rotting tree as death, but the decomposers see it as a means of life. In the process there is more fertile ground for seeds and new life. We ride upon many natural cycles. It seems natural to ride the news cycle too, but it is easy to get caught in the frenetic nature of modern day media. The propaganda machine is powerful. We choose our own path, and are able to grow independently. However, like the espalier trees we discussed last week, we are trained, modified, and manipulated to grow they way TPTB want. So my friends, grow wild like the weeds and the trees in the forest. Think for yourself and sow seeds in fertile ground.

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Lookout's picture

Max and Stacy explain...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YGdRBdgB-c

2008 deja vu?

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The Aspie Corner's picture

It's times like this I have no desire to go into Data Science whatsoever, yet that's literally all that's left. It's either that or go back to the service industry, which I absolutely loathe.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

Lookout's picture

@The Aspie Corner
In many ways Vandana Shiva is hopeful. Her group fought monsanto and won in India. They have a distributed seed bank and farmers coops and training.

How did the willful daughter of a Himalayan forest conservator become the world’s most powerful opponent of Monsanto? The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, a feature-length documentary, presents the remarkable life story of the Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist, Vandana Shiva. A classic David versus Goliath tale, the film shows how Vandana, a brilliant scientist, became Monsanto’s worst nightmare and a rock star of the international sustainable food movement. http://vandanashivamovie.com/

Here's how the monsanto crowd view her...
https://geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/vandana-shiva/

Vandana Shiva (born 1952) is an anti-globalization, anti-corporate, deep ecology and radical eco-feminist activist whose campaigns focus primarily on food and agriculture socio-economic issues and an opposition to GMOs, free trade and intellectual property rights. She alternately promotes land redistribution, indigenous and peasant farmers rights, organic-only food production and ayurvedic health practices over conventional medicines which she characterizes as an “earth democracy” movement necessary to restore “harmony”, people and nature.[1]

Shiva responds to allegations that her initiatives and views prevent peasants from moving out of poverty and lock them into a life of “subsistence” (while she enjoys a comparatively wealthy lifestyle) with the statement, “Resource scarcity is not that bad for it renews ones commitment to human quality.”[2] And that poverty is a culturally perceived bias against indigenous rights to subsistence by Western elites.[3]

Shiva claims there was no hunger in India prior to the Green Revolution, which she counters was the cause of poverty, indebtedness and despair for farmers.[4] Her claim that there was “no hunger” in India prior to the Green Revolution (typically dated in the late 1960’s-1970’s) does not jive with the facts. The Green Revolution in India started in the late 1960s and with its success the country attained food self-sufficiency within a decade. It was focused mostly on wheat production and in the Punjab region. The second wave of the Green Revolution, beginning in the 1980s, involved almost all the crops including rice and covered the whole country, raising farmer incomes and alleviating rural poverty substantially.

As to the capitalist feudal system...
Perhaps you can find data work with a water management district or other public service. My FL fiddling buddy is a retired management district data/computer person. Kinda like my career of teaching. I was a slave for the dollar but I worked for a good cause...the kids. Data is really important in environmental science...really all science. Hope you can avoid service industry servitude.

Glad to see you.

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Deja's picture

Or so says the commercial. It's basically a spa for cows. Is it true? I can't say, but I'd like to think so.

30 second commercial for this one particular brand of gouda, sold at HEB (Texas based grocery chain):

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Lookout's picture

@Deja

...used to maximize carbon accumulation.

The best example I've seen is polyface farms...
Joel Salatin is a third generation beyond organic farmer and author whose family owns and operates Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, forage-based rabbits and direct markets everything to 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z75A_JMBx4 (17 min)

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Deja's picture

@Lookout
Great video, LO! I really like how he called what most of us eat as "concentration camp meat".

I'm surrounded by cattle in fenced, rural lots as well as hay, corn and milo (sp?) fields. I wouldn't exactly call them pastures. The cattle are all supplemented with hay, milo and gmo corn.

So, I have my meat delivered on dry ice, every 60 days. It's supposedly organic, free-range, and sustainably raised, but I wonder if it's actually "salad bar" meat. It comes from ButcherBox. This is their sourcing page, but all I have found while poking around, is the word "sustainable". https://www.butcherbox.com/sourcing/

Their mailing address is in Boston. I'm impressed with the quality, but it sure would be nice to be able to go to the local smokehouse/butcher where they also process deer, and get locally grown organic "salad bar meat".

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Lookout's picture

@Deja

Run by previous students. I like supporting them.
https://www.thefarmatwindyhill.com/

There are other producers on the mt who don't have an online presence. The movement is growing (all puns intended), and you might find some local providers?

Thanks for the visit. That polyface farm is impressive.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

QMS's picture

Thanks for planting the seed.

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Listen to your higher mind.

Lookout's picture

@QMS

...grow to be a sane and functional society...if we would. There are pockets of sanity like c99.

Thanks for the tune!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

Thank you for this work.

Enjoyed the photo of the old moss covered tree; beautiful visual metaphor of life's cycles and brings memories of playing in the forest as well.

Spending more time reading science and nature articles. Not for any particular reason; just have a lot in my stream. Exciting work going on in spite of the political news which you encapsulated today; gives me hope in reading good things. Most is over my paygrade, but i do find pleasure in them. Don't recall having an interest since university days.

Anyways, i'm off to a dogsit tomorrow in the wilderness, my favorite place and dog, Sadie, a hound of four years-old.

Should be a good get away from the stress of family affairs and everything.

Also, began a new prescription last Friday for pulmonary hypertension, to early to tell, but so far so good.

Thanks again for today's Watch and hoping you've a great week out and about on the farm.

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Lookout's picture

@smiley7

We lost our dog a few years back and have been discussing replacement lately.

I've been reading a fun novel this week, Overstory. You might enjoy it.

Best of luck with the new script. Good health and happy spring.

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mhagle's picture

Hope to follow your links later. My oldest child turned 20 today. I am about go see one of her childhood friends in a play at the local college. Busy day.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Sunday!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Lookout's picture

@mhagle

What a prime time in life! Our friend Tina Liza Jones wrote this birthday song. Here's John singing it, teaching it to an audience.

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mimi's picture

is really good. I could follow what they were saying and did not get confused by sarcasm or snarks.

Thanks for the link. My Sunday is already over, but yours might still going on for a while.
So, enjoy it. So much to read, so little brain. But I go on reading til I fall asleep. Smile

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Lookout's picture

@mimi

I hope spring is resonating in your world as it is mine...a half a planet away. Odd to think of Janis B.'s world turning to fall and its very different vibe.

I hope the russiagate meme will die it's deserved death, but the conversation among Aaron, Max and Ben was sane.

Always good to have you come by!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture

I thought this was a neat idea...such a flexible structure.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

QMS's picture

@Lookout
many layers of innovative thinking here.

Thanks

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Listen to your higher mind.

Lookout's picture

@QMS

...and thought isn't this a relatively low cost, high quality housing option for people?

I love flexible design and this is a primo example. Glad you liked it too!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

"Sustainable cows" make the most delicious yogurt I ever tasted. $10 a pint, so I only get it when my gut needs a good medicinal dose of .... yogurty things? probiotics not antibiotics

Straus Family Creamery set to build new main plant in Rohnert Park, not Marin

These days, Straus can be seen cruising around his ranch in an International Harvester truck powered, indirectly, by manure from his cows. Call it a patty wagon. Those 300 beasts produce nearly 4,000 gallons of manure daily, which is converted into compost and renewable energy by the farm’s methane digester. That contraption captures 9.2 million standard cubic feet of biogas annually, keeping some 1,645 metric tons of “carbon dioxide equivalent” out of the atmosphere, according to the company’s calculations. It also creates enough renewable electricity to power the Straus 500-acre farm.

The weather today was so sunny I stayed outside digging and sowing some seed instead of watching videos, but now that's done. The clouds are moving in and another storm approaches, like normal. lol normal

I blew some cash on flower and herb seeds, and some soil to freshen the basil in the pot on my deck. Spring is like that, I love dirt, can't help getting all up in it. pigpen bliss

thanks

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Lookout's picture

@eyo

...and to you my friend. Nothing like watching life grow....especially when you plant the seeds!

So glad you (and I) aren't living under the bridge, and have a place to plant. Always a pleasure to "see" you.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout @Lookout thanks for the encouraging words. So far grow is not one of them, but keep going might as well. Trying to not go full Darwin around here is sorta counter intuitive. monsanto rules

Here is the dirt patch, about six by ten on the busy street surrounded by parked cars. People drive on it, litter on it, spit on it, stop their dogs on it, etc.. I am trying to make living soil in the middle part.

Entry door is between two garages and I live over one of them. CARS If I didn't park a chair downstairs the neighbors would fucking block my doorway. meh

The propagated basil died already, froze and then it got too wet because there's not enough drainage. Yesterday I buried that small tube of composted leaves, coffee grounds and egg shells. It is already absorbing more runoff. right on

Thanks to you (or whoever) linked the Gabe Brown regenerative soil vids, he is great. Except for the greed, when he says he's greedy that puts me off. "Take what you want and leave the rest". peace

Thanks
edit: fixed construcion subject.

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Lookout's picture

@eyo

basil can be replanted. Love your compost tubes. Seed it with worms and you'll really have something.

Gabe's monetary greed is reflective of the society in general. I find Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese farmer/philosopher from Shikoku Island, and author of The One-Straw Revolution, to be a much better farmer/philosopher.
https://onestrawrevolution.net/about/

Always a pleasure eyo!

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@Lookout I don't think compost worms could survive, but the number of earthworms has grown a lot. I move the tubes around to turn and aerate, every time there are teams of earthworms working with me, more and more. yippee

The summer will be the big challenge, if I'm still here it gets punishing full sun when nothing grows... three digit temperatures. I carry water downstairs, the cold that runs out of the hot water pipe is what I use on the plants, it is not that much. zen reminder

before enlightenment
chop wood carry water
after enlightenment
chop wood carry water

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Think for yourself - grow wild - great advice. I’m just thankful I have c99p to bring truth to the fore. I’m grateful for you.

Just got in from a nice overnight treat. Have a nice evening! Pleasantry

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Women are human beings, not prey.
(I forgot where I read it although it might have been in The Intercept)

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

...and nice of you to drop by!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

late to the party, great rundown... thanks

this... heh

Fundamental change is a hard sell till the water is rising, and now the water is rising as polar and glacial ice melts, as floods rage planet wide. It is a snowball gaining speed, and even if we throw in 100% behind a green transition it may be too late. Our extinction may be baked into the system

Will we even try?

(darwinnnnnnnn awaaaaaard)

there is a new report from the UN Environmental and GRID Arendal

GlobalLinkages: A graphic look at the changing Arctic:

https://paulbeckwithblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/arctic_graphics.pdf

have a good evening, all...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture

@magiamma

Our spring is starting out to be dry, after torrential winter rains. Welcome to the new normal riding on the weather pendulum.

Have a good one!

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